1. The European Science Foundation (ESF)
The European Science Foundation is an association of 75 Member Organizations from 30 countries. The ESF brings European scientists together to work on topics of common concern, to co-ordinate the use of expensive facilities, and to discover and define new endeavours that will benefit from a co-operative approach. The scientific work sponsored by ESF includes basic research in the natural sciences, the medical and biosciences, the humanities and the social sciences. The ESF links scholarship and research supported by its members and adds value by cooperation across national frontiers. Through its function as coordinator, and also by holding workshops and conferences and by enabling researchers to visit and study in laboratories throughout Europe, the ESF works for the advancement of European science.
2. Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies (CRAF)
The science of radio astronomy plays a key role in increasing our understanding of the environment and the universe in which we live. By its nature it is a passive service, so it never causes interference to other users of radio, but unfortunately it is becoming increasingly difficult to protect radio astronomy operations from radio interference as use of the spectrum increases for both terrestrial and space-borne communications. On behalf of European radio astronomers, the Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies of the European Science Foundation (CRAF) coordinates activities to keep the frequency bands used by radio astronomy and space sciences free from interference. It works towards this aim by:
- Co-ordinating the case for radio astronomy and space sciences in Europe in discussions with the major public and private telecommunications agencies.
- Acting as the European voice in concert with other groups of radio astronomers in discussions within the international bodies that decide on the use of radio spectrum.
- Initiating and encouraging scientific studies aimed at reducing interference at source and the effects of interference.
Also, CRAF works on behalf of IRAM – Institut de Radio Astronomie Millimétrique and of IVS – International VLBI Service for Geodesy, which use for their scientific research the same bands as the radio astronomy.
3. Management and operation of the committee
The Committee usually meets face-to-face once each year at one of the member institutions. A second meeting each year is held electronically. CRAF’s current spokesperson is Dr. Peter Thomasson (University of Manchester, Jodrell Bank Observatory) and Dr Vincenza Tornatore (Polytecnico di Milano) is its Secretary. CRAF office address: c/o Dr. Peter Thomasson, The University of Manchester, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9DL, UK; tel. (+44) 161-306-9400. Email contact: @craf.eu.